Protests against Citizenship Bill continue in Assam; CM says no problem

Protests continued against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, with All Assam Students Union (AASU) members waving black flags at chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and labour minister Pallab Lochan Das on Thursday.

While Sonowal faced the protest at the Chabua helipad when he got down off a helicopter on way to Dhakuakhana, Lochan Das was greeted with black flags at the Gauhati Commerce College.

Sonowal told a public meeting at Dhakuakhana later that certain “evil forces” were hell bent on tarnishing the image of AASU, which he described as an organization that follows the tenets of non-violence.

AASU supporters also took out a torch rally in Guwahati on Thursday evening against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to six non-Muslim minority groups from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Almost all political parties in the Northeast are opposed to the bill, saying its implementation will flood the region with “outsiders”.

Sonowal said the government does not have a problem with protests as it is a democratic right.

“However, if somebody takes the law into his hand, the government will be left with no option but to take appropriate action against such persona,” he said in Dhakuakhana.

“A misinformation campaign is being spread by vested interests regarding the Citizenship Bill,” he added.

Assam has seen stray incidents of violence in recent days over the bill.

While members of AASU and BJP clashed at Nalbari on Sunday, some members of AASU and BJP clashed at Tinsukia on Wednesday.